Thursday, 3 September 2020

Shopping Small & Indie Businesses I'm Supporting

This year I'm trying my hardest to shop and buy local and/or from independent shops rather than chains, especially as its been a tough year for many and I'd rather put my money into small businesses than large corporate chains. With that in mind, I thought I'd share some of the shops places I've recently purchased from. 


If you're local to the Brampton/ Huntingdon area you should definitely buy some cookies from Gob Snacked! When they say they're not your basic batch they mean it because honestly these cookies are insanely good. For £10 you can get a box of 8 cookies in a range of flavours which can be delivered locally or for collection. Naturally Chris and I couldn't choose what to have so we went for every flavour and doubled up on one. So we had: Double Chocolate Chip, Triple Chocolate, Carrot Cake, Oatmeal and Raisin, Lime Coconut and White Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and Ginger and Milk Chocolate and Orange.

I think my favourite is a toss up between Lime Coconut and White Chocolate or Triple Chocolate. I've also never come across a lime coconut and white chocolate cookie or a carrot cake one either and they're both amazing flavour combinations. As for the sizes of cookie they are huuuge so you get plenty of cookie for your £10!

OxMail Studios and J Welton Illustration

I've been looking for some new stationary for writing to my penpal and had thought the market was pretty limited until I looked on Etsy and found a hella load of designs! I got a selection from each, first starting with Ox Mail Studios. The shop owner Jade hand creates these writing sheets on her ipad and is looking to create more snail mail products in the future so watch this space. I love Jade's style and cannot wait to put pen on this gorgeous paper and write away to my hearts content. 

I then bought some mystery misprints from J Welton Illustration. Buying this pack prevented these designs from becoming paper waste as well as giving me a mystery gift of assorted paper designs as they were prototypes and misprints from the letter sets. I love them and I'm pleased to have rescued them being wasted or thrown away! Based in Cambridge, Jame's prints are lovely and definitely worth checking out to pimp out your pen pal kit!

Little Bee Factory

Little Bee Factory is one of my favourite small businesses to shop at. Partly because its owned by one of my best friends! Lucy creates the most gorgeous personalised gifts. From clothing to water bottles, gin glasses and canvas totes, Lucy can design so many things to your request and her attention to detail is second to none. I've bought various pieces from her but my most recent purchase was this tote bag which I adore!

Panda and The Prince

Another gorgeous Etsy seller to check out is Amanda from Panda and The Prince. Her shop is full of hand drawn cards with witty slogans and puns that can also be customised. I picked up this awesome card for my upcoming wedding anniversary and yes...the treatments are customised...poor Chris!

Treasure Your Gifts

Treasure your gifts is an Etsy store that prides itself on not being massed produced and has an array of lovely personalised pieces. Again for our upcoming anniversary, I picked up this monogrammed scarf for Chris. It's our 7 year anniversary and the traditional gift is wool so this seemed kind of perfect! 

Dandelion Dreams with Charlotte- Body Shop

As you've probably guessed if you've read my previous posts, I love Body Shop. I also love that I can contribute to Charlotte's small business by buying my products through her and can get exclusive discounts and prizes through her group too! I've discovered some lovely products through Charlotte and can also have products delivered straight to my door. 

So those are just a few of the businesses I've been buying from of late and I'm chuffed to have purchased from people passionate about what they do, make and create rather than buying from a chain.

Where have you bought from that's independent of late?

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

DIY Diaries: Frenchicing the Downstairs Loo

I've become a little bit obsessed with Frenchic and decorating this year as you could probably tell from my post on painting my entire kitchen with Frenchic paint!

Skip to a couple months later and I was wondering what I could paint next...Queue the downstairs loo!

The downstairs loo has been a bone on contention for me for quite a while. When we moved in it was carpeted which is a whole load of gross! Teamed with a sickly green wall colour, this space really wound me up.

Radiator Cover- Argos

Candle Holder- Asda Home

Mirror- eBay

I used Frenchic Alfresco in the colour Black Jack to paint the skirting boards and door frames and the radiator too. It makes such a change to not undercoat, prime and gloss skirting boards and instead lightly sanding the skirting boards before painting straight onto it. 

With different Frenchic colours, they cover differently and in the case of Black Jack, it takes 3-4 coats. Thankfully you only need to leave it to dry for two hours and you can paint again. It also makes the radiator more of a feature in the room with I love! 

Another feature I wanted to change and make more of a statement was the tiles. Now don't get me wrong I love decorating and DIY but I do not feel confident with the idea of tiling myself! Instead I did a cheeky hack of applying stick on tiles. Admittedly I was a bit dubious of them initially but having seen lots of positive reviews I took the plunge and I'm really pleased with the result- so much so that I extended the tiles onto the side of the wall (pictured above) where they randomly stopped previously. 

Tiles- Amazon

Soap dispenser and towel rail- Amazon

Bathroom cabinet- eBay

Shelving- IKEA

I probably wouldn't use them to tile over an entire bathroom or an area that gets a lot of water traffic but for a downstairs look sink they are perfect and easier than attempting tiling for the first time!

I decided not to put the mirror above the sink and opted for shelving with a few bits of decor. I know a lot of people are of the opinion that a mirror should sit above the sink but I felt that instead hanging a mirror over the radiator and adding a radiator shelf made use of another area that would otherwise be unused space.

Chunk in a new blind and a plant for good measure and voila we have a new downstairs loo! I know it is only a loo at the end of the day but I'm honestly so much happier with it now than how it was before. 

Blind- Amazon

Have you used Frenchic in your downstairs loo?

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Anglesey Abbey National Trust | 12 Trusts of 2020

Last week I managed to tick off number 5 on my lists of my 12 Trusts of 2020 challenge. For those of you who don't know I set myself the challenge to visit 12 National Trust properties in 2020 and with everything that's happened this year, its proved more of a challenge than I anticipated! Regardless I'm 5 down and 7 left to visit this year which is great progress and another lovely way to spend a day.

For trust number 5 I headed to Anglesey Abbey. Located close to Cambridge, this National Trust has beautiful walks, gardens and even a working mill! (Note: the mill was not open on this occasion due to obvious reasons around Covid.)

I headed to Anglesey Abbey with my lovely mum on this occasion for a mother daughter day out and we began our visit with a wander around the grounds.

There are lots of different elements to the grounds. From open spaced areas which are perfect for picnics to wooded areas, gardens and more which we stopped to look at and admire.

The shaded areas around the grounds are especially good for hot summer days to keep cool whilst still enjoying being outdoors.

With lots of little twists and turns, there is a surprise around every corner. Beyond this statue was a lovely little seating area surrounded by lavender bushes which smelt incredibly and looked very peaceful to sit in. I didn't photograph it as there were people enjoying it at the time so you'll have to go enjoy it for yourselves!

Both mum and I marveled at this area as it felt like we could be in a jungle somewhere. The branches twisting and contorting on the wall looked quite amazing. With the wall ahead of us we knew there was a garden around the corner and we certainly weren't disappointed.

Around the bend was am amazing sea of Dahlias. I'd never come across these before and fell in love with them! The trust have cleverly planted different coloured types so one end of the garden were dark reds and purple types which then faded to pinks, oranges, yellows and whites. It really did look spectacular and has made me want to grow some myself for next year!

I'm definitely getting older as my love of plants is something I was never into in my 20s but I'm glad I can finally appreciate them at places like this. 

After our wander round we settled down in one of the open spaces to enjoy a picnic. In such relaxing surroundings we ended up spending two hours just sat chatting and watching the world go by. There is plenty of space to social distance from other visitors so you can rest assure you'll have your own space to enjoy and admire the many beautiful views.

I mentioned at the beginning of this post there's a working mill. Unfortunately due to Covid it was closed but mum has visited previously and said that in normal circumstances you can go inside and see how it all works plus buy some of the flour! I hope that this is something that will reopen soon once the current climate has settled but what a brilliant feature in normal circumstances!

The final area to visit was the gift shop! It was inevitably that mum and I would have a peruse and we were both really impressed. There was a lovely selection of plants and garden things to choose from outside and inside donning our masks, we oohed and arred at the local gins, clothing, books and more. I ended up purchasing a lovely hat and a bookmark so watch out for that in a future post!

Mum and I had a really lovely day at Anglesey Abbey and it was a lovely setting to catch up, enjoy the outdoors and a picnic too!

I'd definitely heading here for a day out with family or friends to enjoy but don't forget book online before you go and for other National Trust sites, check that they are open on the website too.

Have you been to Anglesey Abbey?

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Clumber Park National Trust | 12 Trusts of 2020

Nestled in Nottinghamshire, I ventured to Clumber Park- my 4th National Trust to visit as part of my 12 Trusts of 2020 challenge. If you have no idea what I'm referring to, I set myself the challenge of visiting 12 National Trust sites in 2020 and so far I've done Blickling Estate, Belton House, Gunby Hall and now Clumber Park!

Having walked around the last few properties, I thought it would be nice to venture out with our bikes so looked up which trusts had good cycle routes and there was Clumber.

It's also a dog friendly trust so we couldn't resist taking Harry and his trailer on the back of Chris' bike for when he got tired or we wanted to whizz around.

There's some stunning views around the parkland, such as this one from the beautiful ornamental bridge.

We cycled along the river, taking in the gorgeous view before the terrain changed to fields and free space. I couldn't help but stop and dance in the long grass- much to Chris' embarrassment! 

We cycled on further and came across the back of Clumber estate and what a view it is. The trees, the river and the wildlife really frame the scenery of the place and it's a gorgeous view to admire. There were families with picnics the other side of me when we took this photo and it made for a beautiful view to sit and enjoy whilst tucking into food.

We cycled on again and ended up going into the woodland area around the park. You could easily get lost in the woodland and also cycle plenty of miles but after a 9 mile spin, we opted to dismount the bikes and take in the surroundings on foot and let Harry have an explore of new sights and smells.

With lots of big trees and shrubs, Clumber Park makes for an amazing place for kids. We saw plenty enjoy the dens and hideouts that nature provided for their make believe adventures.

Harry loved the water- it was hard to drag him away! The swans and the waters reflection did eventually get the better of him and he went in for a paddle. Whoops!

Naturally Chris took great pleasure in taking the p*ss out of me posing too...!

I call this my stop taking the micky out of me look...

Clumber Park has changed a lot over the years. Originally it was the home to the Dukes of Newcastle and there was a lot more to it such as a grand house which no longer exists.

The Gothic church is a feature in itself with some creepy gargoyles looming over the spires! As with everything at the moment we were unable to go inside so instead marveled at its splendor from the outside.


Another area to explore was the walled kitchen garden. This gorgeous 4 acre garden was built back in 1772 and now boasts awards for its culinary rhubarbs and apple trees. The fresh produce is used in the restaurant at Clumber which unfortunately wasn't open due to COVID but if you get the chance to dine in future I definitely would! 

Clumber Park is definitely up there was one of my favourite National Trusts I've ever visited. It has a bit of everything for all ages and you can easily spend an entire day and not get bored. From beautiful plants and woodland walks to, river side picnics, cycling and architecture, this trust is stunning and a real gem to visit.

Have you visited Clumber Park?

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